Six Norwegian documentaries selected

20. April 2021

The 49th Norwegian International Film Festival will have a strong focus on Norwegian documentaries, with six films already confirmed with their Norwegian premiere in Haugesund.

The six films are The Art of Whistling (director Per Maning), Mind of Modernism (director Paul Tunge), Young & Afraid (directors Petter Aaberg and Sverre Kvamme), Oh, it Herzt! (director Gunnar Hall Jensen), Seyran Ates: Sex, Revolution and Islam (director Nefise Özkal Lorentzen) and Stay Home (directors Maren Victoria Thingnæs og Marianne Mørk)

– We’re exited to give everyone a warm welcome to our film festival in Haugesund in August after a challenging year for the Norwegian cinema and film industry. Unique documentaries are becoming increasingly important and offers great awareness on highly relevant social, cultural and historical topics. The fact that we can present six strong film projects with such contrasting topics of equal importance is incredibly fun, and proves the present excellence of the Norwegian documentary film community, says festival director Tonje Hardersen.

Extensive range
It is currently a golden era for Norwegian documentaries and many have made a name for themselves both nationally and internationally in recent years. Several of this year’s films have already been selected by renowned international film festivals, before they will have their first meeting with a national audience in Haugesund.

The six films have a wide range in both theme and genre. While one is a portrait of an author, the others deal with a vast range of topics on mental health, modernist architecture, Islam and sexuality, youth under lockdown, to the sounds we surround ourselves with on a daily basis.

– Filmmakers and participants will all be present in Haugesund and look forward to walking the red carpet and meeting their Norwegian audience in physical screenings in the festival’s cinemas, Hardersen says.

Film synopis
The Art of Whistling is a unique portrait of the author Thorvald Steen directed by photographer Per Maning, known for his characteristic animal portraits. Maning has been documenting his friend Steen for over 25 years, and the result has become a visual feast and a close portrait of an unusual man.

Mind of Modernism is a three-part portrait of Norwegian modernist architecture. Paul Tunge has previously made “Ad Astra”, a film about Norwegian churches and “Bauta” about public buildings. These are now put together with a completely new segment about modernist villas, to the feature film Mind of Modernism, with music composed by Kim Hiorthøy.

Young & Afraid is a raw and unadorned film about young people fighting their demons. In the autumn of 2017, Petter stands on top of a bridge and is about to end his life, but he is stopped by the police at the last minute. This is the start of a therapeutic journey with his best friend and co-director Sverre, who will bring light into both Petter’s dark mind and the lives of the other young people they meet on their path.

Oh, it Hertz! is a new film from the well known documentary filmmaker Gunnar Hall Jensen. Jensen investigates the story of why the Nazis changed the standard frequency of the A-tone from 432 to 440 Hertz together with musicologist and singer Laurie Amat. We get to meet different sound experts around the world and will probably never listen to the world in the same way ever again.

Seyran Ateş: Sex, Revolution and Islam follows the Iman and feminist Seyran Ateş, who fights for a sexual revolution in Islam. Despite two fatwas against her, she bravely travels the world to contribute to a more tolerant and inclusive world. The film is also a journey in her own personal history, from a childhood in the slums of Istanbul to an international icon.

Stay Home lets us join the homes of 11 children and young people from different continents during the first year of the pandemic, from March 2020 to January 2021. The film shows not only the extent to which their world turns upside down, but also that they all share a common concern for the world and a strong need for hope – despite very different lives and circumstances. Together, they weave a global narrative about the consequences of lockdown. The production company Fuglene has co-produced a serial version of the film for the web with aftenposten.no and will now have its Norwegian premiere of the feature film in Haugesund.

Exciting feature films
The fiction films will of course be as important for the festival program this year as they always have been.

– We have great hopes of getting many exciting Norwegian and Nordic films into this years program and look forward to presenting our film selection and seminar program throughout the spring, says Hardersen.